Friday, December 10, 2010

08 Dec 10

"...I'm sporty spice with pink boots..." ~ Coles Whalen

Hey, blogspot readers, it's a double dose of Hump Day rock shows! Tonight, this busy reviewer's spreading more holiday warmth during her latest adventure around town. First, it's Elbo Room to check out a songtress from Denver, Coles Whalen, and her opening set. Then it's another mad dash to River North's Angels & Kings for hardcore metal by Mara and A Beautiful Nightmare.

Coles Whalen - she's the songtress of heartfelt lyrical prose. That's how SouthSide would describe the marvelous acoustic performance this artist had recently at Elbo Room. This reviewer enjoyed the simplicity of the lyrics (sung with tender sentiment and/or fiery spunk) within her songs as well as the lively inconsistent mix of genres heard throughout the set. Don't worry, blogspot readers, the inconsistency was a good thing in which captivate not only the audience but this reviewer. After warming up the audience with the ballad, So It Is (track 6), Coles had them in the palm of her hand ...better yet, the sound of the spicy yet vibrant waves of Country during Whistle Stop (track 2 off her The Whistle Stop Road Record). SouthSide was delighting attentively on how her voice would change within the dynamics of this song (along with others performed) to fit the upbeat tempo before moving into another ballad - These Small Things (off Coles' upcoming album). Another fine example would be listening to to her sultry Blues vocal tone in Wake Up Easy or that feisty spunk found in the song Go Child (track 1). During the middle of Wake Up Easy, this artist related a funny tidbit about how she slightly improvised on the lyrics (changing it to "...wake up easy makin' lunch...") while performing at a middle school. Also noteworthy off Coles' current CD, listen to track 5 - Wrecking Ball and track 8 - Average 20 Something. Plus off the upcoming new album coming out sometime March 2011, blogspot readers can expect to hear the toe-tappin' Drinking Song and Can't Treat Me Bad which rocked out Coles' opening performance. SouthSide highly recommends catching Coles Whalen next live set - her songs and voice certainly connected with this Chicago audience within a lively rhythmic tempo. Visit or for more information.

"...get some (ear)plugs if you value your ears..." ~ Mara

Now, SouthSide's at Angels & Kings for another weekly edition of the One Man(no) Show. Tonight's theme was hardcore screamo/metal rock performances featuring Mara with A Beautiful Nightmare headlining.

This was serious headbanging, energetic metal/screamo rock, blogspot readers, that melted the microphone. Blood curdling guitar riffs and throaty lyrical screams wafted throughout the short Mara performance. SouthSide enjoyed the eclectic yet interesting mix of metal and digital voiceover programming (off the keyboard) heard within certain parts of this band's songs. Performing songs such as Zombie Tea Party, Losing Touch and Formation, this reviewer liked the thundering momentum despite the tight constraint on stage in which held back Mara's vibrant excitedness to a minimum. She knows if given the chance this rockin' metal band could do more damage when truly releasing their inner rock demons amongst the audience. There wasn't much room on the Angels & Kings' stage for them to mosh around without the fear of falling off while performing. SouthSide highly suggests listening to Mara's mesh of electro-techno rhythms and hardcore sound in the song Rooms; the heated anger of the gut-busting scream in Withered; and the thundering guitar rock of Sin of All Sins. Mara will be rockin' again at Reggie's Rock Club on Dec 19 ...and she forewarned newbies now - be sure to grab a pair of plugs or face a metal blast of rock for days! Grab a copy of their free CD too. Visit for more information.

A Beautiful Nightmare continued the loud thunderous theme of the screamo/metal rock theme which blasted every eardrum within its stage reach. However this band added more of a fast heart-thumping guitar sound off three guitars and headbanging action to their set. And just like their friends, Mara, this band would truly be more animated if given a larger stage to mosh about while performing their rockin' set. After a fantastic opening to catch everyone's attention, ABN rocked out the River North venue with an angered anti-religious/dogma rant in I Don't Want To Go To Church Today. Obviously no one would be attending any services not after the way Michael (ABN's front man on vocals) lyrically screamed over the microphone in which he vividly conveyed the tempered mood of the lyrics. Also check out You're Worth More Than Gold (don't be fooled by the calm lull in the intro merely a prelude before a wicked blast of guitars and drums) and Therapist(blogspot readers, not your ordinary "on the couch" therapy session as Michael seriously inserts himself emotionally into this song). Despite this being a short performance, ABN packed a lot of metal rock action that totally kicked arse with a crash-spectacular ending to keep SouthSide's ears ringing for a couple of days! This reviewer highly recommends all screamo/metal fans visiting for your own personal and daily dose of rockin' music by this local band as well as information on when and where the screams will be melting the stage again.

Until next time, support your local scene,

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